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The  Energies  of  Men 



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THOUGH  it  would  seem  that  the  sane  and 
simple  message  of  this  essay  could  not  be 
misconstrued,  the  fact  that  it  has  been  wholly 
misunderstood  in  newspaper  comment  warns  us 
that  it  is  necessary  to  preface  it  by  stating  that 
it  does  not  counsel  all  persons  to  drive  themselves 
at  all  times  beyond  the  limits  of  ordinary  endur- 
ance, that  it  is  not  a  gospel  of  overstrain  nor  an 
advocate  of  the  use  of  alcohol  and  opium  as  stim- 
ulants in  emergencies. 

It  states  that  "second  wind"  is  a  reality  in  the 
mental  as  in  the  physical  realm  and  that  it  can  be 
found  and  used  when  needed — nothing  more. 

The  Energies  of  Men 

EVERYONE  knows  what  it  is  to  start  a 
piece  of  work,  either  intellectual  or  mus- 
cular, feeling  stale — or  oold,  as  an  Adirondack 
guide  once  put  it  to  me.  And  everybody  knows 
what  it  is  to  "  warm  up"  to  his  job.  The  process 
of  warming  up  gets  particularly  striking  in  the 
phenomenon  known  as  "second  wind."  On  usual 
occasions  we  make  a  practice  of  stopping  an  oc- 
cupation as  soon  as  we  meet  the  first  effective 
layer  (so  to  call  it)  of  fatigue.  We  have  then 
walked,  played,  or  worked  "  enough,"  so  we  de- 
sist. That  amount  of  fatigue  is  an  efficacious  ob- 
struction on  this  side  of  which  our  usual  life  is 
cast.  But  if  an  unusual  necessity  forces  us  to 
press  onward,  a  surprising  thing  occurs.  The 
fatigue  gets  worse  up  to  a  certain  critical  point, 
when  gradually  or  suddenly  it  passes  away,  and 
we  are  fresher  than  before.  We  have  evidently 
tapped  a  level  of  new  energy,  masked  until  then 
by  the  fatigue-obstacle  usually  obeyed.  There 
may  be  layer  after  layer  of  this  experience.  A 
third  and  a  fourth  "wind"  may  supervene.  Men- 
tal activity  shows  the  phenomenon  as  well  as 
physical,  and  in  exceptional  cases  we  may  find, 



beyond  the  very  extremity  of  fatigue-distress, 
amounts  of  ease  and  power  that  we  never 
dreamed  ourselves  to  own, — sources  of  strength 
habitually  not  taxed  at  all,  because  habitually  we 
never  push  through  the  obstruction,  never  pass 
those  early  critical  points. 

Getting  One's  Second  Wind. 

For  many  years  I  have  mused  on  the  phenome 
non  of  second  wind,  trying  to  find  a  physiologica 
theory.  It  is  evident  that  our  organism  has 
stored-up  reserves  of  energy  that  are  ordinarily 
not  called  upon,  but  that  may  be  called  upon: 
deeper  and  deeper  strata  of  combustible  or 
explosible  material,  discontinuously  arranged, 
but  ready  for  use  by  anyone  who  probes  so 
deep,  and  repairing  themselves  by  rest  as  well 
as  do  the  superficial  strata.  Most  of  us  con- 
tinue living  unnecessarily  near  our  surface. 
Our  energy-budget  is  like  our  nutritive  budget. 
Physiologists  say  that  a  man  is  in  "nutritive 
equilibrium"  when  day  after  day  he  neither  gains 
nor  loses  weight.  But  the  odd  thing  is  that  this 
condition  may  obtain  on  astonishingly  different 
amounts  of  food.  Take  a  man  in  nutritive 
equilibrium,  and  systematically  increase  or  les- 




sen  his  rations.  In  the  first  case  he  will  begin  to 
gain  weight,  in  the  second  case  to  lose  it.  The 
change  will  be  greatest  on  the  first  day,  less  on 
the  second,  less  still  on  the  third;  and  so  on,  till 
he  has  gained  all  that  he  will  gain,  or  lost  all  that 
he  will  lose,  on  that  altered  diet.  He  is  now  in 
nutritive  equilibrium  again,  but  with  a  new 
weight ;  and  this  neither  lessens  nor  increases  be- 
cause his  various  combustion-processes  have  ad- 
justed themselves  to  the  changed  dietary.  He 
gets  rid,  in  one  way  or  another,  of  just  as  much 
N,  C,  H,  etc.,  as  he  takes  in  per  diem. 

Just  so  one  can  be  in  what  I  might  call  "effi- 
ciency-equilibrium" (neither  gaining  nor  losing 
power  when  once  the  equilibrium  is  reached)  on 
astonishingly  different  quantities  of  work,  no 
matter  in  what  direction  the  work  may  be  meas- 
ured. It  may  be  physical  work,  intellectual 
work,  moral  work,  or  spiritual  work. 

Keeping  Up  a  Faster  Pace. 
Of  course  there  are  limits:  the  trees  don't 
grow  into  the  sky.  But  the  plain  fact  remains 
that  men  the  world  over  possess  amounts  of  re- 
source which  only  very  exceptional  individuals 
push  to  their  extremes  of  use.    But  the  very  same 



individual,  pushing  his  energies  to  their  extreme, 
may  in  a  vast  number  of  cases  keep  the  pace  up 
day  after  day,  and  find  no  "reaction"  of  a  bad 
sort,  so  long  as  decent  hygienic  conditions  are 
preserved.  His  more  active  rate  of  energizing 
does  not  wreck  him;  for  the  organism  adapts  it- 
self, and  as  the  rate  of  waste  augments,  aug- 
ments correspondingly  the  rate  of  repair. 

I  say  the  rate  and  not  the  time  of  repair.  The 
busiest  man  needs  no  more  hours  of  rest  than  the 
idler.  Some  years  ago  Professor  Patrick,  of  the 
Iowa  State  University,  kept  three  young  men 
awake  for  four  days  and  nights.  When  his  ob- 
servations on  them  were  finished,  the  subjects 
were  permitted  to  sleep  themselves  out.  All 
awoke  from  this  sleep  completely  refreshed,  but 
the  one  who  took  longest  to  restore  himself  from 
his  long  vigil  only  slept  one-third  more  time  than 
was  regular  with  him. 

If  my  reader  will  put  together  these  two  con- 
ceptions, first,  that  few  men  live  at  their  maxi- 
mum of  energy,  and  second,  that  anyone  may  be 
in  vital  equilibrium  at  very  different  rates  of 
energizing,  he  will  find,  I  think,  that  a  very 
pretty  practical  problem  of  national  economy,  as 



well  as  of  individual  ethics,  opens  upon  his  view. 
In  rough  terms,  we  may  say  that  a  man  who  en- 
ergizes below  his  normal  maximum  fails  by  just 
so  much  to  profit  by  his  chance  at  life;  and  that 
a  nation  filled  with  such  men  is  inferior  to  a  na- 
tion run  at  higher  pressure.  The  problem  is, 
then,  how  can  men  be  trained  up  to  their  most 
useful  pitch  of  energy?  And  how  can  nations 
make  such  training  most  accessible  to  all  their 
sons  and  daughters.  This,  after  all,  is  only  the 
general  problem  of  education,  formulated  in 
slightly  different  terms. 

"Rough"  terms,  I  said  just  now,  because  the 
words  "energy"  and  "maximum"  may  easily  sug- 
gest only  quantity  to  the  reader's  mind,  whereas 
in  measuring  the  human  energies  of  which  I 
speak,  qualities  as  well  as  quantities  have  to  be 
taken  into  account.  Everyone  feels  that  his  total 
power  rises  when  he  passes  to  a  higher  qualitative 
level  of  life. 

Saying  "Yes"  and  Saying  "No" 
Writing  is  higher  than  walking,  thinking  is 
higher  than  writing,  deciding  higher  than  think- 
ing, deciding  "no"  higher  than  deciding  "yes" 
— at  least  the  man  who  passes   from  one  of 



these  activities  to  another  will  usually  say- 
that  each  later  one  involves  a  greater  ele- 
ment of  inner  work  than  the  earlier  ones,  even 
though  the  total  heat  given  out  or  the  foot- 
pounds expended  by  the  organism,  may  be  less. 
Just  how  to  conceive  this  inner  work  physiologi- 
cally is  as  yet  impossible,  but  psychologically  we 
all  know  what  the  word  means.  We  need  a  par- 
ticular spur  or  effort  to  start  us  upon  inner  work ; 
it  tires  us  to  sustain  it ;  and  when  long  sustained, 
we  know  how  easily  we  lapse.  When  I  speak  of 
"energizing,"  and  its  rates  and  levels  and  sources, 
I  mean  therefore  our  inner  as  well  as  our  outer 

Saying  "Peace!  Be  Still" 
Let  no  one  think,  then,  that  our  problem  of  in- 
dividual and  national  economy  is  solely  that  of 
the  maximum  of  pounds  raisable  against  gravity, 
the  maximum  of  locomotion,  or  of  agitation  of 
any  sort,  that  human  beings  can  accomplish. 
That  might  signify  little  more  than  hurrying  and 
jumping  about  in  inco-ordinated  ways;  whereas 
inner  work,  though  it  so  often  reinforces  outer 
work,  quite  as  often  means  its  arrest.  To  relax, 
to  say  to  ourselves  (with  the  "new  thoughters") 



"Peace!  be  still!"  is  sometimes  a  great  achieve- 
ment of  inner  work.  When  I  speak  of  human 
energizing  in  general,  the  reader  must  therefore 
understand  that  sum- total  of  activities,  some 
outer  and  some  inner,  some  muscular,  some  emo- 
tional, some  moral,  some  spiritual,  of  whose  wax- 
ing and  waning  in  himself  he  is  at  all  times  so 
well  aware.  How  to  keep  it  at  an  appreciable 
maximum?  How  not  to  let  the  level  lapse? 
That  is  the  great  problem.  But  the  work  of  men 
and  women  is  of  innumerable  kinds,  each  kind 
being,  as  we  say,  carried  on  by  a  particular 
faculty ;  so  the  great  problem  splits  into  two  sub- 
problems,  thus: 

(1.)  What  are  the  limits  of  human  faculty 
in  various  directions  ? 

(2.)  By  what  diversity  of  means,  in  the  dif- 
fering types  of  human  beings,  may  the  faculties 
be  stimulated  to  their  best  results  ? 

Read  in  one  way,  these  two  questions  sound 
both  trivial  and  familiar :  there  is  a  sense  in  which 
we  have  all  asked  them  ever  since  we  were  born. 
Yet  as  a  methodical  programme  of  scientific  in- 
quiry,  I  doubt  whether  they  have  ever  been  seri- 
ously taken  up.     If  answered  fully,  almost  the 



whole  of  mental  science  and  of  the  science  of  con- 
duct would  find  a  place  under  them.  I  propose, 
in  what  follows,  to  press  them  on  the  reader's 
attention  in  an  informal  way. 

Failing  to  Do  All  that  We  Can. 

The  first  point  to  agree  upon  in  this  enterprise 
is  that  as  a  rule  men  habitually  use  only  a  small 
part  of  the  powers  which  they  actually  possess 
and  which  they  might  use  under  appropriate  con- 

Every  one  is  familiar  with  the  phenomenon  of 
feeling  more  or  less  alive  on  different  days. 
Every  one  knows  on  any  given  day  that  there  are 
energies  slumbering  in  him  which  the  incitements 
of  that  day  do  not  call  forth,  but  which  he  might 
display  if  these  were  greater.  Most  of  us  feel 
as  if  a  sort  of  cloud  weighed  upon  us,  keeping  us 
below  our  highest  notch  of  clearness  in  discern- 
ment, sureness  in  reasoning,  or  firmness  in  de- 
ciding. Compared  with  what  we  ought  to  be,  we 
are  only  half  awake.  Our  fires  are  damped,  our 
drafts  are  checked.  We  are  making  use  of  only 
a  small  part  of  our  possible  mental  and  physical 
resources.  In  some  persons  this  sense  of  being 
cut  off  from  their  rightful  resources  is  extreme, 



and  we  then  get  the  formidable  neurasthenic  and 
psychasthenic  conditions,  with  life  grown  into 
one  tissue  of  impossibilities,  that  so  many  medical 
books  describe. 

Stating  the  thing  broadly,  the  human  individ- 
ual thus  lives  usually  far  within  his  limits;  he 
possesses  powers  of  various  sorts  which  he  habit- 
ually fails  to  use.  He  energizes  below  his 
maximum,  and  he  behaves  below  his  optimum. 
In  elementary  faculty,  in  co-ordination,  in  power 
of  inhibition  and  control,  in  every  conceivable 
way,  his  life  is  contracted  like  the  field  of  vision 
of  an  hysteric  subject — but  with  less  excuse,  for 
the  poor  hysteric  is  diseased,  while  in  the  rest  of 
us  it  is  only  an  inveterate  habit — the  habit  of  in- 
feriority to  our  full  self — that  is  bad. 
Going  Over  the  Dam. 

Admit  so  much,  then,  and  admit  also  that  the 
charge  of  being  inferior  to  their  full  self  is  far 
truer  of  some  men  than  of  others ;  then  the  prac- 
tical question  ensues:  to  what  do  the  better  men 
owe  their  escape?  and,  in  the  fluctuations  which 
all  men  feel  in  their  own  degree  of  energizing, 
to  what  are  the  improvements  due,  when  they 



In  general  terms  the  answer  is  plain : 

Either  some  unusual  stimulus  fills  them  with 
emotional  excitement,  or  some  unusual  idea  of 
necessity  induces  them  to  make  an  extra  effort 
of  will.  Excitements,  ideas,  and  efforts,  in  a 
word,  are  what  carry  us  over  the  dam. 

In  those  "hyperesthetic"  conditions  which 
chronic  invalidism  so  often  brings  in  its  train,  the 
dam  has  changed  its  normal  place.  The  slight- 
est functional  exercise  gives  a  distress  which  the 
patient  yields  to  and  stops.  In  such  cases  of 
"habit-neurosis"  a  new  range  of  power  often 
comes  in  consequence  of  the  "bully  ing-treat- 
ment,"  of  efforts  which  the  doctor  obliges  the 
patient,  much  against  his  will,  to  make.  First 
comes  the  very  extremity  of  distress,  then  fol- 
lows unexpected  relief.  There  seems  no  doubt 
that  we  are  each  and  all  of  us  to  some  extent  vic- 
tims of  habit-neurosis.  We  have  to  admit  the 
wider  potential  range  and  the  habitually  narrow 
actual  use.  We  live  subject  to  arrest  by  degrees 
of  fatigue  which  we  have  come  only  from  habit 
to  obey.  Most  of  us  may  learn  to  push  the  bar- 
rier farther  off,  and  to  live  in  perfect  comfort 
on  much  higher  levels  of  power. 



The  Energies  of  Roosevelt. 

Country  people  and  city  people,  as  a  class, 
illustrate  this  difference.  The  rapid  rate  of  life, 
the  number  of  decisions  in  an  hour,  the  many 
things  to  keep  account  of,  in  a  busy  city  man's  or 
woman's  life,  seem  monstrous  to  a  country 
brother.  He  doesn't  see  how  we  live  at  all.  A 
day  in  New  York  or  Chicago  fills  him  with  ter- 
ror. The  danger  and  noise  make  it  appear  like 
a  permanent  earthquake.  But  settle  him  there, 
and  in  a  year  or  two  he  will  have  caught  the 
pulse-beat.  He  will  vibrate  to  the  city's  rhythms ; 
and  if  he  only  succeeds  in  his  avocation,  what- 
ever that  may  be,  he  will  find  a  joy  in  all  the 
hurry  and  the  tension,  he  will  keep  the  pace  as 
well  as  any  of  us,  and  get  as  much  out  of  him- 
self in  any  week  as  he  ever  did  in  ten  weeks  in 
the  country. 

The  stimuli  of  those  who  successfully  respond 
and  undergo  the  transformation  here,  are  duty, 
the  example  of  others,  and  crowd-pressure  and 
contagion.  The  transformation,  moreover,  is  a 
chronic  one:  the  new  level  of  energy  becomes 
permanent.  The  duties  of  new  offices  of  trust 
are  constantly  producing  this  effect  on  the  hu- 



man  beings  appointed  to  them.  The  physiolo- 
gists call  a  stimulus  "dynamogenic"  when  it  in- 
creases the  muscular  contractions  of  men  to 
whom  it  is  applied;  but  appeals  can  be  dynamo- 
genic morally  as  well  as  muscularly.  We  are 
witnessing  here  in  America  to-day  the  dynamo- 
genic effect  of  a  very  exalted  political  office  upon 
the  energies  of  an  individual  who  had  already 
manifested  a  healthy  amount  of  energy  before 
the  office  came. 

The  Sublime  Heroism  of  Women. 
Humbler  examples  show  perhaps  still  better 
what  chronic  effects  duty's  appeal  may  produce 
in  chosen  individuals.  John  Stuart  Mill  some- 
where says  that  women  excel  men  in  the  power  of 
keeping  up  sustained  moral  excitement.  Every 
case  of  illness  nursed  by  wife  or  mother  is  a  proof 
of  this ;  and  where  can  one  find  greater  examples 
of  sustained  endurance  than  in  those  thousands 
of  poor  homes,  where  the  woman  successfully 
holds  the  family  together  and  keeps  it  going  by 
taking  all  the  thought  and  doing  all  the  work — 
nursing,  teaching,  cooking,  washing,  sewing, 
scrubbing,  saving,  helping  neighbors,  "choring" 
outside — where  does  the  catalogue  end?    If  she 



does  a  bit  of  scolding  now  and  then  who  can 
blame  her?  But  often  she  does  just  the  reverse; 
keeping  the  children  clean  and  the  man  good 
tempered,  and  soothing  and  smoothing  the  whole 
neighborhood  into  finer  shape. 

Eighty  years  ago  a  certain  Montyon  left  to  the 
Academie  Francaise  a  sum  of  money  to  be  given 
in  small  prizes,  to  the  best  examples  of  "virtue" 
of  the  year.  The  academy's  committees,  with 
great  good  sense,  have  shown  a  partiality  to  vir- 
tues simple  and  chronic,  rather  than  to  her  spas- 
modic and  dramatic  flights;  and  the  exemplary 
housewives  reported  on  have  been  wonderful  and 
admirable  enough.  In  Paul  Bour get's  report  for 
this  year  we  find  numerous  cases,  of  which  this  is 
a  type;  Jeanne  Chaix,  eldest  of  six  children; 
mother  insane,  father  chronically  ill.  Jeanne, 
with  no  money  but  her  wages  at  a  pasteboard-box 
factory,  directs  the  household,  brings  up  the  chil- 
dren, and  successfully  maintains  the  family  of 
eight,  which  thus  subsists,  morally  as  well  as  ma- 
terially, by  the  sole  force  of  her  valiant  will.  In 
some  of  these  French  cases  charity  to  outsiders  is 
added  to  the  inner  family  burden;  or  helpless 
relatives,  young  or  old,  are  adopted,  as  if  the 



strength  were  inexhaustible  and  ample  for  every 
appeal.  Details  are  too  long  to  quote  here;  but 
human  nature,  responding  to  the  call  of  duty, 
appears  nowhere  sublimer  than  in  the  person  of 
these  humble  heroines  of  family  life. 

Buried  Coal  Miner's  Great  Achievement 
Turning  from  more  chronic  to  acuter  proofs 
of  human  nature's  reserves  of  power,  we  find  that 
the  stimuli  that  carry  us  over  the  usually  effective 
dam  are  most  often  the  classic  emotional  ones, 
love,  anger,  crowd-contagion  or  despair.  De- 
spair lames  most  people,  but  it  wakes  others  fully 
up.  Every  siege  or  shipwreck  or  polar  expedi- 
tion brings  out  some  hero  who  keeps  the  whole 
company  in  heart.  Last  year  there  was  a  terrible 
colliery  explosion  at  Courrieres  in  France.  Two 
hundred  corpses,  if  I  remember  rightly,  were  ex- 
humed. After  twenty  days  of  excavation,  the 
rescuers  heard  a  voice.  "Me  voici,"  said  the  first 
man  unearthed.  He  proved  to  be  a  collier  named 
Nemy,  who  had  taken  command  of  thirteen 
others  in  the  darkness,  disciplined  them  and 
cheered  them,  and  brought  them  out  alive. 
Hardly  any  of  them  could  see  or  speak  or  walk 
when  brought  into  the  day.    Five  days  later,  a 



different  type  of  vital  endurance  was  unexpect- 
edly unburied  in  the  person  of  one  Berton  who, 
isolated  from  any  but  dead  companions,  had  been 
able  to  sleep  away  most  of  his  time. 

How  a  Soldier  Survived  an  Awful  Siege. 

A  new  position  of  responsibility  will  usually 
show  a  man  to  be  a  far  stronger  creature  than 
was  supposed.  Cromwell's  and  Grant's  careers 
are  the  stock  examples  of  how  war  will  wake  a 
man  up.  I  owe  to  Professor  C.  E.  Norton,  my 
colleague,  the  permission  to  print  part  of  a  pri- 
vate letter  from  Colonel  Baird- Smith,  written 
shortly  after  the  six  weeks'  siege  of  Delhi,  in 
1857,  for  the  victorious  issue  of  which  that  excel- 
lent officer  was  chiefly  to  be  thanked.  He  writes 
as  follows : 

"...  My  poor  wife  had  some  reason  to 
think  that  war  and  disease  between  them  had  left 
very  little  of  a  husband  to  take  under  nursing 
when  she  got  him  again.  An  attack  of  camp- 
scurvy  had  filled  my  mouth  with  sores,  shaken 
every  joint  in  my  body,  and  covered  me  all  over 
with  sores  and  livid  spots,  so  that  I  was  marvel- 
ously  unlovely  to  look  upon.  A  smart  knock  on 
the  ankle-joint  from  the  splinter  of  a  shell  that 
burst  in  my  face,  in  itself  a  mere  bagatelle  of  a 



wound,  had  been  of  necessity  neglected  under 
the  pressing  and  incessant  calls  upon  me,  and  had 
grown  worse  and  worse  till  the  whole  foot  below 
the  ankle  became  a  black  mass  and  seemed  to 
threaten  mortification.  I  insisted,  however,  on 
being  allowed  to  use  it  till  the  place  was  taken, 
mortification  or  no;  and  though  the  pain  was 
sometimes  horrible,  I  carried  my  point  and  kept 
up  to  the  last.  On  the  day  after  the  assault  I 
had  an  unlucky  fall  on  some  bad  ground,  and  it 
was  an  open  question  for  a  day  or  two  whether 
I  hadn't  broken  my  arm  at  the  elbow.  For- 
tunately it  turned  out  to  be  only  a  severe  sprain, 
but  I  am  still  conscious  of  the  wrench  it  gave  me. 
To  crown  the  whole  pleasant  catalogue,  I  was 
worn  to  a  shadow  by  a  constant  diarrhoea,  and 
consumed  as  much  opium  as  would  have  done 
credit  to  my  father-in-law  (Thomas  De  Quin- 
cey) .  However,  thank  God,  I  have  a  good  share 
of  Tapleyism  in  me  and  come  out  strong  under 
difficulties.  I  think  I  may  confidently  say  that 
no  man  ever  saw  me  out  of  heart,  or  ever  heard 
one  croaking  word  from  me  even  when  our  pros- 
pects were  gloomiest.  We  were  sadly  scourged 
by  the  cholera,  and  it  was  almost  appalling  to  me 
to  find  that  out  of  twenty-seven  officers  present, 
I  could  only  muster  fifteen  for  the  operations  of 
the  attack.  However,  it  was  done,  and  after  it 
was  done  came  the  collapse.    Don't  be  horrified 



when  I  tell  you  that  for  the  whole  of  the  actual 
siege,  and  in  truth  for  some  little  time  before,  I 
almost  lived  on  brandy.  Appetite  for  food  I  had 
none,  but  I  forced  myself  to  eat  just  sufficient  to 
sustain  life,  and  I  had  an  incessant  craving  for 
brandy  as  the  strongest  stimulant  I  could  get. 
Strange  to  say,  I  was  quite  unconscious  of  its 
affecting  me  in  the  slightest  degree.  The  excite- 
ment of  the  work  was  so  great  that  no  lesser  one 
seemed  to  have  any  chance  against  it,  and  I  cer- 
tainly never  found  my  intellect  clearer  or  my 
nerves  stronger  in  my  life.  It  was  only  my 
wretched  body  that  was  weak,  and  the  moment 
the  real  work  was  done  by  our  becoming  complete 
masters  of  Delhi,  I  broke  down  without  delay 
and  discovered  that  if  I  wished  to  live  I  must 
continue  no  longer  the  system  that  had  kept  me 
up  until  the  crisis  was  passed.  With  it  passed 
away  as  if  in  a  moment  all  desire  to  stimulate, 
and  a  perfect  loathing  of  my  late  staff  of  life 
took  possession  of  me." 

Such  experiences  show  how  profound  is  the 
alteration  in  the  manner  in  which,  under  excite- 
ment, our  organism  will  sometimes  perform  its 
physiological  work.  The  processes  of  repair  be- 
come different  when  the  reserves  have  to  be  used, 
and  for  weeks  and  months  the  deeper  use  may 

go  on. 




Morbid  Cases  of  Women. 
Morbid  cases,  here  as  elsewhere,  lay  the  nor- 
mal machinery  bare.  In  the  first  number  of  Dr. 
Morton  Prince's  Journal  of  Abnormal  Psycholo- 
gy, Dr.  Janet  has  discussed  five  cases  of  morbid 
impulse,  with  an  explanation  that  is  precious  for 
my  present  point  of  view.  One  is  a  girl  who  eats, 
eats,  eats,  all  day.  Another  walks,  walks,  walks, 
and  gets  her  food  from  an  automobile  that  es- 
corts her.  Another  is  a  dipsomaniac.  A  fourth 
pulls  out  her  hair.  A  fifth  wounds  her  flesh  and 
burns  her  skin.  Hitherto  such  freaks  of  impulse 
have  received  Greek  names  (as  bulimia,  drom- 
omania,  etc.)  and  been  scientifically  disposed  of 
as  "episodic  syndromata  of  hereditary  degenera- 
tion." But  it  turns  out  that  Janet's  cases  are  all 
what  he  calls  psychasthenics,  or  victims  of  a 
chronic  sense  of  weakness,  torpor,  lethargy,  fa- 
tigue, insufficiency,  impossibility,  unreality,  and 
powerlessness  of  will;  and  that  in  each  and  all 
of  them  the  particular  activity  pursued,  deleteri- 
ous though  it  be,  has  the  temporary  result  of 
raising  the  sense  of  vitality  and  making  the  pa- 
tient feel  alive  again.  These  things  reanimate: 
they  would  reanimate  us;  but  it  happens  that  in 



each  patient  the  particular  freak-activity  chosen 
is  the  only  thing  that  does  reanimate ;  and  therein 
lies  the  morbid  state.  The  way  to  treat  such  per- 
sons is  to  discover  to  them  more  usual  and  useful 
ways  of  throwing  their  stores  of  vital  energy  into 

Is  a  "Spree"  Ever  Good  for  You? 

Colonel  B air d- Smith,  needing  to  draw  on  al- 
together extraordinary  stores  of  energy,  found 
that  brandy  and  opium  were  ways  of  throwing 
them  into  gear. 

Such  cases  are  humanly  typical.  We  are  all 
to  some  degree  oppressed,  unfree.  We  don't 
come  to  our  own.  It  is  there,  but  we  don't  get  at 
it.  The  threshold  must  be  made  to  shift.  Then 
many  of  us  find  that  an  eccentric  activity — a 
"spree,"  say — relieves.  There  is  no  doubt  that  to 
some  men  sprees  and  excesses  of  almost  any  kind 
are  medicinal,  temporarily  at  any  rate,  in  spite  of 
what  the  moralists  and  doctors  say. 

But  when  the  normal  tasks  and  stimulations  of 
life  don't  put  a  man's  deeper  levels  of  energy  on 
tap,  and  he  requires  distinctly  deleterious  excite- 
ments, his  constitution  verges  on  the  abnormal. 
The  normal  opener  of  deeper  and  deeper  levels 



of  energy  is  the  will.  The  difficulty  is  to  use  it, 
to  make  the  effort  which  the  word  volition  im- 
plies. But  if  we  do  make  it  (or  if  a  god,  though 
he  were  only  the  god  Chance,  makes  it  through 
us),  it  will  act  dynamogenically  on  us  for 
month.  It  is  notorious  that  a  single  successful 
effort  of  moral  volition,  such  as  saying  "no"  to 
some  habitual  temptation,  or  performing  some 
courageous  act,  will  launch  a  man  on  a  higher 
level  of  energy  for  days  and  weeks,  will  give 
him  a  new  range  of  power.  "In  the  act  of 
uncorking  the  whiskey  bottle  which  I  had 
brought  home  to  get  drunk  upon,"  said  a  man  to 
me,  "I  suddenly  found  myself  running  out  into 
the  garden,  where  I  smashed  it  on  the  ground. 
I  felt  so  happy  and  uplifted  after  this  act,  that 
for  two  months  I  wasn't  tempted  to  touch  a 

The  emotions  and  excitements  due  to  usual  sit- 
uations are  the  usual  inciters  of  the  will.  But 
these  act  discontinuously ;  and  in  the  intervals  the 
shallower  levels  of  life  tend  to  close  in  and  shut 
us  off.  Accordingly  the  best  practical  knowers 
of  the  human  soul  have  invented  the  thing  known 
as  methodical  ascetic  discipline  to  keep  the  deeper 



levels  constantly  in  reach.  Beginning  with  easy 
tasks,  passing  to  harder  ones,  and  exercising  day 
by  day,  it  is,  I  believe,  admitted  that  disciples  of 
asceticism  can  reach  very  high  levels  of  freedom 
and  power  of  will. 

Wonders  of  the  Yoga  System. 
Ignatius  Loyola's  spiritual  exercises  must 
have  produced  this  result  in  innumerable  de- 
votees. But  the  most  venerable  ascetic  system, 
and  the  one  whose  results  have  the  most  volumi- 
nous experimental  corroboration  is  undoubtedly 
the  Yoga  system  in  Hindustan.  From  time  im- 
memorial, by  Hatha  Yoga,  Raja  Yoga,  Karma 
Yoga,  or  whatever  code  of  practise  it  might  be, 
Hindu  aspirants  to  perfection  have  trained  them- 
selves, month  in  and  out,  for  years.  The  result 
claimed,  and  certainly  in  many  cases  accorded  by 
impartial  judges,  is  strength  of  character,  per- 
sonal power,  unshakability  of  soul.  In  an  arti- 
cle in  the  Philosophical  Review  for  January  last, 
from  which  I  am  largely  copying  here,  I  have 
quoted  at  great  length  the  experience  with 
"Hatha  Yoga"  of  a  very  gifted  European  friend 
of  mine  who,  by  persistently  carrying  out  for 
several  months  its  methods  of  fasting  from  food 



and  sleep,  its  exercises  in  breathing  and  thought- 
concentration,  and  its  fantastic  posture-gymnas- 
tics, seems  to  have  succeeded  in  waking  up  deeper 
and  deeper  levels  of  will  and  moral  and  intellec- 
tual power  in  himself,  and  to  have  escaped  from 
a  decidedly  menacing  brain-condition  of  the  "cir- 
cular" type,  from  which  he  had  suffered  for 

Judging  by  my  friend's  letters,  of  which  the 
last  I  have  is  written  fourteen  months  after  the 
Yoga  training  began,  there  can  be  no  doubt  of 
his  relative  regeneration.  He  has  undergone 
material  trials  with  indifference,  traveled  third- 
class  on  Mediterranean  steamers,  and  fourth- 
class  on  African  trains,  living  with  the  poorest 
Arabs  and  sharing  their  unaccustomed  food,  all 
with  equanimity.  His  devotion  to  certain  inter- 
ests has  been  put  to  heavy  strain,  and  nothing  is 
more  remarkable  to  me  than  the  changed  moral 
tone  with  which  he  reports  the  situation.  A  pro- 
found modification  has  unquestionably  occurred 
in  the  running  of  his  mental  machinery.  The 
gearing  has  changed,  and  his  will  is  available 
otherwise  than  it  was. 

My  friend  is  a  man  of  very  peculiar  tempera- 


ment.  Few  of  us  would  have  had  the  will  to  start 
upon  the  Yoga  training,  which,  once  started, 
seemed  to  conjure  the  further  will-power  needed 
out  of  itself.  And  not  all  of  those  who  could 
launch  themselves  would  have  reached  the  same 
results.  The  Hindus  themselves  admit  that  in 
some  men  the  results  may  come  without  call  or 
bell.  My  friend  writes  to  me:  "You  are  quite 
right  in  thinking  that  religious  crises,  love-crises, 
indignation-crises  may  awaken  in  a  very  short 
time  powers  similar  to  those  reached  by  years  of 
patient  Yoga-practice." 

Probably  most  medical  men  would  treat  this 
individual's  case  as  one  of  what  it  is  fashionable 
now  to  call  by  the  name  of  "self-suggestion/ '  or 
"expectant  attention" — as  if  those  phrases  were 
explanatory,  or  meant  more  than  the  fact  that 
certain  men  can  be  influenced,  while  others  can- 
not be  influenced,  by  certain  sorts  of  ideas.  This 
leads  me  to  say  a  word  about  ideas  considered  as 
dynamogenic  agents,  or  stimuli  for  unlocking 
what  would  otherwise  be  unused  reservoirs  of  in- 
dividual power. 

One  thing  that  ideas  do  is  to  contradict  other 
ideas  and  keep  us  from  believing  them.    An  idea 

[29 1 


that  thus  negates  a  first  idea  may  itself  in  turn 
be  negated  by  a  third  idea,  and  the  first  idea  may 
thus  regain  its  natural  influence  over  our  belief 
and  determine  our  behavior.  Our  philosophic 
and  religious  development  proceeds  thus  by  cred- 
ulities, negations,  and  the  negating  of  negations. 
Ideas  Which  Unlock  Our  Hidden  Energies. 

But  whether  for  arousing  or  for  stopping  be- 
lief, ideas  may  fail  to  be  efficacious,  just  as  a 
wire  at  one  time  alive  with  electricity,  may  at  an- 
other time  be  dead.  Here  our  insight  into  causes 
fails  us,  and  we  can  only  note  results  in  general 
terms.  In  general,  whether  a  given  idea  shall 
be  a  live  idea  depends  more  on  the  person  into 
whose  mind  it  is  injected  than  on  the  idea  itself. 
Which  is  the  suggestive  idea  for  this  person,  and 
which  for  that  one?  Mr.  Fletcher's  disciples  re- 
generate themselves  by  the  idea  (and  the  fact) 
that  they  are  chewing,  and  re-chewing,  and 
super-chewing  their  food.  Dr.  Dewey's  pupils 
regenerate  themselves  by  going  without  their 
breakfast — a  fact,  but  also  an  ascetic  idea.  Not 
every  one  can  use  these  ideas  with  the  same  suc- 

But  apart  from  such  individually  varying  sus- 



ceptibilities,  there  are  common  lines  along  which 
men  simply  as  men  tend  to  be  inflammable  by 
ideas.  As  certain  objects  naturally  awaken  love, 
anger,  or  cupidity,  so  certain  ideas  naturally 
awaken  the  energies  of  loyalty,  courage,  endur- 
ance, or  devotion.  When  these  ideas  are  effective 
in  an  individual's  life,  their  effect  is  often  very 
great  indeed.  They  may  transfigure  it,  unlock- 
ing innumerable  powers  which,  but  for  the  idea, 
would  never  have  come  into  play.  "Fatherland," 
"the  Flag,"  "the  Union,"  "Holy  Church,"  "the 
Monroe  Doctrine,"  "Truth,"  "Science,"  "Lib- 
erty," Garibaldi's  phrase  "Rome  or  Death,"  etc., 
are  so  many  examples  of  energy-releasing  ideas. 
The  social  nature  of  such  phrases  is  an  essential 
factor  of  their  dynamic  power.  They  are  forces 
of  detent  in  situations  in  which  no  other  force 
produces  equivalent  effects,  and  each  is  a  force 
of  detent  only  in  a  specific  group  of  men. 

The  Power  in  a  Temperance  "Pledge" 
The  memory  that  an  oath  or  vow  has  been  made 
will  nerve  one  to  abstinences  and  efforts  other- 
wise impossible;  witness  the  "pledge"  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  temperance  movement.  A  mere  prom- 
ise to  his  sweetheart  will  clean  up  a  youth's  life  all 



over — at  any  rate  for  a  time.  For  such  effects 
an  educated  susceptibility  is  required.  The  idea 
of  one's  "honor,"  for  example,  unlocks  energy 
only  in  those  of  us  who  have  had  the  education 
of  a  "gentleman,"  so  called. 

That  delightful  being,  Prince  Pueckler-Mus- 
kau,  writes  to  his  wife  from  England  that  he  has 
invented  "a  sort  of  artificial  resolution  respecting 
things  that  are  difficult  of  performance.  My  de- 
vice," he  continues,  "is  this:  I  give  my  word  of 
honor  most  solemnly  to  myself  to  do  or  to  leave 
undone  this  or  that.  I  am  of  course  extremely 
cautious  in  the  use  of  this  expedient,  but  when 
once  the  word  is  given,  even  though  I  afterwards 
think  I  have  been  precipitate  or  mistaken,  I  hold 
it  to  be  perfectly  irrevocable,  whatever  incon- 
veniences I  foresee  likely  to  result.  If  I  were 
capable  of  breaking  my  word  after  such  mature 
consideration,  I  should  lose  all  respect  for  my- 
self,— and  what  man  of  sense  would  not  prefer 
death  to  such  an  alternative?  .  .  .  When  the 
mysterious  formula  is  pronounced,  no  alteration 
in  my  own  view  nothing  short  of  physical  im- 
possibilities, must,  for  the  welfare  of  my  soul, 
alter  my  will.    ...  I  find  something  very  satis* 



factory  in  the  thought  that  man  has  the  power 
of  framing  such  props  and  weapons  out  of  the 
most  trivial  materials,  indeed  out  of  nothing, 
merely  by  the  force  of  his  will,  which  thereby 
truly  deserves  the  name  of  omnipotent."* 

Conversions,  whether  they  be  political,  scien- 
tific, philosophic,  or  religious,  form  another  way 
in  which  bound  energies  are  let  loose.  They  unify 
us,  and  put  a  stop  to  ancient  mental  interfer- 
ences. The  result  is  freedom,  and  often  a  great 
enlargement  of  power.  A  belief  that  thus  settles 
upon  an  individual  always  acts  as  a  challenge  to 
his  will.  But,  for  the  particular  challenge  to  op- 
erate, he  must  be  the  right  challenge.  In  re- 
ligious conversions  we  have  so  fine  an  adjustment 
that  the  idea  may  be  in  the  mind  of  the  challen- 
gee  for  years  before  it  exerts  effects;  and  why 
it  should  do  so  then  is  often  so  far  from  obvious 
that  the  event  is  taken  for  a  miracle  of  grace,  and 
not  a  natural  occurrence.  Whatever  it  is,  it  may 
be  a  highwater  mark  of  energy,  in  which  "noes," 
once  impossible,  are  easy,  and  in  which  a  new 
range  of  "yeses"  gains  the  right  of  way. 

*  "Tour  in  England,  Ireland  and  France,"  Philadelphia,  1833,  p.  435. 



The  Value  of  Christian  Science. 

We  are  just  now  witnessing  a  very  copious 
unlocking  of  energies  by  ideas  in  the  persons  of 
those  converts  to  "New  Thought,"  "Christian 
Science,"  "Metaphysical  Healing,"  or  other 
forms  of  spiritual  philosophy,  who  are  so  numer- 
ous among  us  to-day.  The  ideas  here  are  healthy- 
minded  and  optimistic;  and  it  is  quite  obvious 
that  a  wave  of  religious  activity,  analogous  in 
some  respects  to  the  spread  of  early  Christianity, 
Buddhism,  and  Mohammedanism,  is  passing  over 
our  American  world.  The  common  feature  of 
these  optimistic  faiths  is  that  they  all  tend  to  the 
suppression  of  what  Mr.  Horace  Fletcher  calls 
"fearthought."  Fearthought  he  defines  as  the 
"self-suggestion  of  inferiority" ;  so  that  one  may 
say  that  these  systems  all  operate  by  the  sug- 
gestion of  power.  And  the  power,  small  or  great, 
comes  in  various  shapes  to  the  individual, — 
power,  as  he  will  tell  you,  not  to  "mind"  things 
that  used  to  vex  him,  power  to  concentrate  his 
mind,  good  cheer,  good  temper — in  short,  to  put 
it  mildly,  a  firmer,  more  elastic  moral  tone. 

The  most  genuinely  saintly  person  I  have  ever 
known  is  a  friend  of  mine  now  suffering  from 



cancer  of  the  breast — I  hope  that  she  may  par- 
don my  citing  her  here  as  an  example  of  what 
ideas  can  do.  Her  ideas  have  kept  her  a  practi- 
cally well  woman  for  months  after  she  should 
have  given  up  and  gone  to  bed.  They  have  an- 
nulled all  pain  and  weakness  and  given  her  a 
cheerful  active  life,  unusually  beneficent  to  others 
to  whom  she  has  afforded  help.  Her  doctors,  ac- 
quiescing in  results  they  could  not  understand, 
have  had  the  good  sense  to  let  her  go  her  own 

How  far  the  mind-cure  movement  is  destined 
to  extend  its  influence,  or  what  intellectual  modi- 
fications it  may  yet  undergo,  no  one  can  foretell. 
It  is  essentially  a  religious  movement,  and  to 
academically  nurtured  minds  its  utterances  are 
tasteless  and  often  grotesque  enough.  It  also 
incurs  the  natural  enmity  of  medical  politicians, 
and  of  the  whole  trades-union  wing  of  that  pro- 
fession. But  no  unprejudiced  observer  can  fail 
to  recognize  its  importance  as  a  social  phenom- 
enon to-day,  and  the  higher  medical  minds  are 
already  trying  to  interpret  it  fairly,  and  make  its 
power  available  for  their  own  therapeutic  ends. 



Prayer  as  a  Sleep-Producer. 

Dr.  Thomas  Hyslop,  of  the  great  West  Rid- 
ing Asylum  in  England,  said  last  year  to  the 
British  Medical  Association  that  the  best  sleep- 
producing  agent  which  his  practice  had  revealed 
to  him,  was  prayer.  I  say  this,  he  added  (I  am 
sorry  here  that  I  must  quote  from  memory), 
purely  as  a  medical  man.  The  exercise  of  prayer, 
in  those  who  habitually  exert  it,  must  be  regarded 
by  us  doctors  as  the  most  adequate  and  normal  of 
all  the  pacifiers  of  the  mind  and  calmers  of  the 

But  in  few  of  us  are  functions  not  tied  up 
by  the  exercise  of  other  functions.  Relatively 
few  medical  men  and  scientific  men,  I  fancy,  can 
pray.  Few  can  carry  on  any  living  commerce 
with  "God."  Yet  many  of  us  are  well  aware  of 
how  much  freer  and  abler  our  lives  would  be, 
were  such  important  forms  of  energizing  not 
sealed  up  by  the  critical  atmosphere  in  which  we 
have  been  reared.  There  are  in  every  one  po- 
tential forms  of  activity  that  actually  are  shunted 
out  from  use.  Part  of  the  imperfect  vitality  un- 
der which  we  labor  can  thus  be  easily  explained. 
One  part  of  our  mind  dams  up — even  damns  up ! 

— the  other  parts. 



Trying  to  Work  with  One  Finger. 

Conscience  makes  cowards  of  us  all.  Social 
conventions  prevent  us  from  telling  the  truth 
after  the  fashion  of  the  heroes  and  heroines  of 
Bernard  Shaw.  We  all  know  persons  who  are 
models  of  excellence,  but  who  belong  to  the  ex- 
treme philistine  type  of  mind.  So  deadly  is  their 
intellectual  respectability  that  we  can't  converse 
about  certain  subjects  at  all,  can't  let  our  minds 
play  over  them,  can't  even  mention  them  in  their 
presence.  I  have  numbered  among  my  dearest 
friends  persons  thus  inhibited  intellectually,  with 
whom  I  would  gladly  have  been  able  to  talk 
freely  about  certain  interests  of  mine,  certain 
authors,  say,  as  Bernard  Shaw,  Chesterton,  Ed- 
ward Carpenter,  H.  G.  Wells,  but  it  wouldn't  do, 
it  made  them  too  uncomfortable,  they  wouldn't 
play,  I  had  to  be  silent.  An  intellect  thus  tied 
down  by  literality  and  decorum  makes  on  one  the 
same  sort  of  an  impression  that  an  able-bodied 
man  would  who  should  habituate  himself  to  do 
his  work  with  only  one  of  his  fingers,  locking  up 
the  rest  of  his  organism  and  leaving  it  unused. 

I  trust  that  by  this  time  I  have  said  enough  to 
convince  the  reader  both  of  the  truth  and  of  the 



importance  of  my  thesis.  The  two  questions, 
first,  that  of  the  possible  extent  of  our  powers; 
and,  second,  that  of  the  various  avenues  of  ap- 
proach to  them,  the  various  keys  for  unlocking 
them  in  diverse  individuals,  dominate  the  whole 
problem  of  individual  and  national  education. 
We  need  a  topography  of  the  limits  of  human 
power,  similar  to  the  chart  which  oculists  use  of 
the  field  of  human  vision.  We  need  also  a  study 
of  the  various  types  of  human  being  with  refer- 
ence to  the  different  ways  in  which  their  energy- 
reserves  may  be  appealed  to  and  set  loose.  Biog- 
raphies and  individual  experiences  of  every  kind 
may  be  drawn  upon  for  evidence  here.